It is an absolute pleasure to read Midnight Sun just to cringe at it. But I am here to make it even cringier! I'm sure they have been WAY too many Twilight metaphors, but I'm adding one more to the pile: behold, Twilight through the lens of my gay Mormon religious trauma.
I chose to read *Saving Faith* by John Gee because I knew I would strongly disagree with it. I don't usually do that with the books I read in my free time, but this one touched a chord as a gay Latter-Day Saint and a survivor of sexual abuse.
When it comes to Enos, Jarom, and Omni less is more. Sharon Harris has done more with these little books than I thought possible. Harris makes theological space in these pages for those on the edge of the inside of Mormonism, and in an Ozymandian take reminds us that spirituality isn't measured by your real estate on the gold plates.
My patient parents put up with me reading The Great Divorce to them this week while they were visiting. Re-reading Lewis always brings fresh insights. Lewis's "The Great Divorce" was one of the books that helped me overcome my religiously inspired self-loathing and realize I wasn't doomed to go to the Mormon version of hell.
Hugh Nibley simultaneously affirms faith and challenges the status quo within the Church, and that duality is what I admire so much about him.
I needed some comfort food this week, so I read Truman G. Madsen's "The Prophet Joseph Smith." Growing up, my dad could quote these lectures like scripture. I think this book perhaps most closely captures why the saints loved him so much. But the saying is definitely true: "Catholics say the pope is infallible, but don't really believe it; Mormons say the prophet is fallible, but don't really believe it."
"Tabernacles of Clay" hits so hard, because for me it is personal. For LGBT Latter-Day Saints on the ground, living our faith is a practical matter, not a theoretical one. Yet ecclesiastical guidance and even doctrines change with political winds.
Spencer's "First Nephi" has given me a chance to be reconciled to Nephi, and for that I am grateful. Despite all our efforts to make Nephi a symbol of perfect obedience-- for better or worse-- Spencer shows us a human side of Nephi you may miss otherwise.
The Church history department didn't disappoint with Saints Vol II. I will say, this one will be harder to talk about around the dinner table (I already sparked one family fight) A gripping tale with complex characters, moral ambiguity, and great pacing.
There is always a space between the ideal as taught by the gospel and where we are now. Some are more painfully aware of this gap than others. But it is in this space where grace operates.